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Buy 1 Get 1 Free from The Black Crowes...

New Album Releases Sept. 1, 2009: The Black Crowes, Whitney Houston, Drive-By Truckers,

I'm one of the many codgers who bemoans the commercialization of Christmas and I'm given to offering my lamentations about who the crassness feels like it comes earlier every year. I mean it when I say it but it would probably be a hell of a lot more believable if I didn't get so damn excited to see what the fall and winter will bring in terms of new releases. As we turn the calendar to September, we can quote Bob Dylan: “Things should start to get interesting right about now.” He's right.

There are different kinds of “big” new releases. There is the kind that is big to me and the kind that's big to everyone else. Because I write this column and not everyone else, we'll start with the release that's most important to me.

The Black Crowes
Before The Frost…Until The Freeze

We should have seen this coming. Some of you probably did. Once Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, and others demonstrated you can just give it away there was no doubt Black Crowes would one day follow in those footsteps. This is just so… them. For Radiohead, it was name your own price. Trent Reznor first offered multiple packages at different price points, including free. He then actually gave away The Slip. The Black Crowes have opted for a buy one, get one free concept.

Before The Frost picks up where Warpaint left off. I know people think all Black Crowes albums pick up where the last one left off, but that's Maxim lazy and we're better than that here at Blogcritics. With all due respect to the talented guitarists who've played with the band, Luther Dickinson was born for this gig. His slide work is tailor made not only for this band but for these songs.

Oh, and one more thing: that isn't overdubbed applause. These albums were cut live in the studio in front of an audience.

Whitney Houston
I Look To You

Okay, so now here's one for everybody else. I'm not buying this one but I'm at the right age to remember when Whitney Houston sold records and won Grammys on pace with Michael Jackson and Madonna. Okay, she never sold Thriller numbers but her soundtrack for The Bodyguard moved a ridiculous number in its time and she'd had some pretty massive hits long before that. I remember when there was a wholesomeness and purity to Houston's image. I remember when the children were the future and learning to love yourself was the greatest love of all. Then came Bobby Brown, scandal, and drugs. Bobby's gone and now Whitney and her mentor Clive Davis are trying to launch a comeback for one of the great R&B/pop singers of all time.

I'm not a Houston fan, per se, but it doesn't take a great set of ears to appreciate that she had a once in a generation voice. She was special. How much of that is left? We're about to find out. I'm not always a sucker for a comeback, but I am this time. I hope she knocks this one out of the park and reclaims a piece of her former title among the elites.

Here's the rest of your list for this week:

The Black Crowes
Before the Frost/Until the Freeze

Drive-By Truckers
Fine Print: A Collection of Oddities and Rarities 2003-2008

Whitney Houston
I Look to You

Andrew W.K.
55 Cadillac

The Apples in Stereo
#1 Hits Explosion

Vladimir Ashkenazy
Works for Two Pianos by Debussy & Ravel

Susana Baca
Seis Poemas

Baner Pilot

A.A. Bondy
When the Devil's Loose

Sci-Fi Crimes

Rick Danko
Live at Dylan's Cafe, Washington D.C., December 1987

Rick Danko & Richard Manuel
Live at O'Toole's Tavern, Scranton, PA, December 1985

Speech Debelle
Speech Therapy

Dr. Dre
The Chronic [Re-Lit and From the Vault]

Emerson, Lake & Palmer
The Essential Emerson, Lake & Palmer [Limited Edition 3.0]

Emmy the Great
First Love

Liam Finn + Eliza Jane
Champagne in Seashells

Claus Peter Flor
Josef Suk: Asrael Symphony

Karina Gauvin
Nicola Porpora: Arias

Robin Guthrie

Haydn Trio Eisenstadt
Dedicated to Haydn

John Lee Hooker
Live at Soledad Prison/Never Get Out of These Blues Alive

David Russell Hulme
Edward German: Tom Jones

Insane Clown Posse
Bang! Pow! Boom! [Blue]

Juliette Lewis
Terra Incognita

Richard Lloyd
The Jamie Neverts Story

Lullabye Arkestra

Deborah Lurie/Danny Elfman
9 [Soundtrack]

The Marshall Tucker Band
The Essential Marshall Tucker Band [Limited Edition 3.0]

Mr. Scruff
Keep It Unreal [10th Anniversary Edition]

Original Soundtrack
Sorority Row [Soundtrack]

Ozzy Osbourne
Essential Ozzy Osbourne [Limited Edition 3.0]


Reverend Horton Heat
Laughin' & Cryin' with Reverend Horton Heat

Brandi Shearer
Love Don't Make You Juliet

Susanna & the Magical Orchestra

These United States
Everything Touches Everything

Those Bastard Souls
Twentieth Century Chemical [Bonus Tracks]

The Used
Artwork [Limited Edition] [CD/DVD]

Various Artists
Definitive Jux Presents, Vol. 4

Various Artists
The Roots of Led Zeppelin

Derek Webb
Stockholm Syndrome

Chris Young
The Man I Want to Be

About Josh Hathaway

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